Environmentalism efforts to eradicate the use of plastic, particularly disposable plastics, have long been in force across the globe. But now, with the upcoming plastic tax in the UK, these efforts are about to become mainstream for many businesses.
Disposable plastics, commonly referred to as "single-use plastics", have long come under scrutiny for their impact on pollution, land- and sea-borne animals, and how difficult it is to find a viable solution to the problem.
In more recent years, a number of businesses have taken action to help tackle this. Whether that's finding new, innovative solutions using more sustainable materials. Or eradicating certain packaging altogether.
Now, the UK is introducing a new tax implication for businesses using plastics. And with the deadline rapidly approaching, it could be time for you to assess how this change might impact your business.
The UK's Plastic Packaging Tax has been introduced on 1 April 2022, the tax means that any plastic packaging which isn't made up of at least 30% of recycled plastic is subject to tax by the UK government. This applies to plastic manufactured in the UK, or imported, and will be in effect across England, Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland.
There are - as ever - certain exceptions. For example, if a business uses less than 10 tonnes of plastic packaging a year, it'll be exempt from the tax to help minimize the impact on smaller companies. But, there's nothing to say that this won't change in the coming years.
It's important to note that even if a company is 'liable' for the tax (i.e. fits the criteria) they may not be directly responsible for paying the tax. Without getting into the weeds of it, gov.uk have a step-by-step guide on ensuring you're in the know.
Regardless of whether you're a smaller business or not - which uses plastic packaging or not - this new development could impact you.
For one, if you're trading with vendors who do use more than 10 tonnes of packaging a year, suppliers might choose to increase their prices to help buffer the impact of this tax on their bottom line.
There may also be a rise in the pricing of packaging that achieves the threshold of containing at least 30% recycled plastic - meaning that cost could still reverberate through your supply chain.
But namely, it's possible that the administrative workload will impact you more. Businesses will need to determine whether or not they are liable for the tax, register if they are, and maintain the appropriate records of their packaging use. It isn't a small adjustment to normal operations, and could well require an extension of the team. Hello, bottom line.
When it comes to business credit or debit cards, there's no reason to worry right now. However, while the plastic tax won't impact your payment cards right now, it might be safe to assume that in the future, more and more forms of plastic will be legislated.